Archive for April, 2016

Porto Sokhna Ride Spring 2016

April 22, 2016

What can be said about the Porto Sokhna ride that hasn’t been said before? Well quite a bit, since you ask, especially because quite a lot happened that’s never happened before. It started normally enough: an early start, a deep sense of foreboding and a small group with full pockets. Luis, David Luna, Sherif, Omar Khairy, Geoff, Fritz and me. We rolled steadily to the AS road where we were joined by a few locals while we stopped for the customary puncture repair. I was shocked to discover it wasn’t Omar! Actually I don’t think Omar punctured all day. So there’s one thing that hasn’t happened before.

 

CCC members among the pilgrimage of cyclists at the Cairo toll booth

CCC members among the pilgrimage of cyclists at the Cairo toll booth

 

Things started to get really different at the first toll gate. A bunch of 40 or so local riders gathered together from the Biscletta team and the Cairo Crit group and others. Amongst this pro-looking crew were Sir Omar, David Gamal and Ibrahim Helal. It seemed like the wind was going to be difficult so I welcomed the prospect of strength in numbers. The CCC group headed out first but we all joined forces a little before the now demolished Jiffy Lube and the pace really lifted. There was a flurry of efforts on the front and we stayed all together for about 20k sitting on something close to 45kph. Eventually things fractured but the mood was positive not least because our fresh legs told us the wind was at our backs. Geoff had to turn back at the Helwan exit and he was later able to confirm the wind direction after copping it head on for the entire solo return journey.

The owner at the restaurant at the 73k mark must have got the shock of his life when 40+ way honed hardmen rolled in and caused an unexpected spike in sales. With all these new and unusual occurrences it was comforting to experience something completely typical for the Porto Sokhna ride: Pascal with his car and driver joining in at the halfway mark. He was accompanied by Chris who achieved his own unique record of having a 30 year age difference between his shoes and the rest of his kit. Chapeau!

Storming the Restaurant at km 70

Storming the Restaurant at km 73

On the stretch to the Sokhna gate I was in a small group with David, Fritz and Luis. We swapped turns at the front and with the generous wind, made short work of a bit of road that usually burns a few matches. Not so with the last section to Porto Sokhna. Pascal made good use of his fresh legs and drove the pace hard and together with Mohamed from the Cairo Crit team got half the bunch onto the Strava leaderboard for this segment.

And then all that was left was the Sky Mall climb. Easy to say, hard to do. Luis dropped his chain at the base, security made a grab for David and I but we busted through with great optimism. I felt good, then OK, then awful, then close to death. Each corner the summit seemed closer yet impossibly higher. David was out of sight now. Only a cyclist knows this agony. Finally at the top we collapsed in the shade and willed the malaise to ease quickly. We watched each arriving rider deal with their suffering. Omar, Omar and David arrived almost together wearing their masks of pain. Two big records fell: Nick’s KOM eclipsed by Sir Omar and over 20 riders making it to the summit finish. Kudos to all.

Rick H.

Here are 21 Sky Mall finishers: absolute record!

Here are the 21 or so Sky Mall finishers: absolute record!

 

Sir Omar Adel landing the KOM at the summit in superb fashion

Sir Omar Adel landing the KOM at the summit in superb fashion

 

Omar Khairy and David Gamal giving everything at the finish line, prior to collapsing

Omar Khairy and David Gamal giving everything at the finish line, prior to collapsing

 

CCC finishers from left: Luis, Rick, Chris, Pascal, David L. & Fritz

CCC finishers from left: Luis, Rick, Chris, Pascal, David L. & Fritz

 

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